Our Team | Board of Directors

Our Team | Board of Directors

The team at Retrieving Independence is a dedicated and compassionate group of individuals who love and respect the unique learning capabilities of dogs and humans to assist each other when they come together in extraordinary relationships.

We share a common goal: to improve the lives of others.

  • All
    • All
    • Board of Directors
    • Program Director
    • Counseling Coordinator
    • Training Director | Assistant Trainer
    • Fundraising Director
    • Veterinary Care

Shelly Steel

Board Chair

Shelly Steel joined Retrieving Independence in 2012 as a furlough volunteer and puppy raiser. In 2015, she took a leadership role with the Board and in January 2016 was voted Board Chair. For Shelly, it has been a life-changing experience.

Shelly is a Marriage and Family Therapist and has her private practice in Nashville.

Shelly Steel

Hayley Phipps, D.V.M.

Board Vice Chair | Veterinarian

Dr. Hayley Phipps joined the Retrieving Independence board and team in 2015. She is a Nashville native – born and raised! Dr. Phipps is a veterinarian at Belle Meade Animal Hospital and serves as a vet to all the RI dogs.

Dr. Phipps frequently treats the dogs in training, occasionally visits the dogs in prison to update vaccines, plus, she aims to enhance the Retrieving Independence breeding program.

Dr. Hayley Phipps

Beth Nagy

Board Secretary

Beth Nagy joined Retrieving Independence in 2012 as a furlough volunteer and puppy raiser. In 2015, Beth became an RI Board member-at-large and in 2016 moved into the Board Secretary role. Beth is also the Fundraising Director. Beth frequently tells her family and friends, “you’re my heart” to tell them she loves them – RI is “her heart”.

Beth Nagy

Dave Adams

Board Member

Dave Adams joined Retrieving Independence in 2011 as a volunteer and serves on the Retrieving Independence Board of Directors. He performs many tasks behind the scenes including helping to raise puppies for the Serving With Canines training program, filling the RI bus with gas in between trips to the Turney Center, fundraising, and supporting the organization whenever he is called upon.

Dave Adams

Anna Hollingsworth

Board Member

Anna Hollingsworth joined the Retrieving Independence Board of Directors in 2017. Anna and her husband became RI furlough volunteers in early 2017 and both found a passion for the organization’s mission early on. Anna also serves as the Retrieving Independence fundraising committee chairman.

Anna Hollingsworth

Vicki Diestelkamp

Board Treasurer

Vicki Diestelkamp joined the board in 2016, having worked with Retrieving Independence’s Puppy program at the Farm at Natchez Trace. With a background in the Hospitality industry, she assists in coordinating the Recipient camp hotel and meeting arrangements.

Vicki Diestelkamp

Lesley Adams

Program & Training Director

Lesley Adams joined Retrieving Independence in 2011 as a volunteer to continue developing her skills with assistance dogs and supplement her prior experience in training dogs for general obedience work. She was one of the founding Board Members of Retrieving Independence.

As Program & Training Director, Lesley is responsible for the initiation of and continuing refinement of approaches, curricula and evaluations for dogs, and inmate trainers with Retrieving Independence.

Brenda Dew, Ph.D.

Counseling Coordinator

Brenda Dew, Ph.D. joined the volunteer team of Retrieving Independence in 2012 after retiring as a Professor of Counseling. She is the Counseling Coordinator for Retrieving Independence and is responsible for developing and managing relationship assessments for the inmate trainers, applicants and caregivers. She also heads the Drill Team that showcases our service dogs and their training.